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Henry Puna

Henry Puna

Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
Henry Puna
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
A.K.A. Henry Tuakeu Puna
Is Politician
From Cook Islands
Type Politics
Gender male
Birth 29 July 1949, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Age: 71 years
Star sign LeoLeo
Politics Cook Islands Party
University of Auckland
University of Tasmania
The details


Henry Tuakeu Puna (born 29 July 1949) is the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. He is leader of the Cook Islands Party and has been Prime Minister since November 2010.

Early life

Puna grew up in Aitutaki. He was educated on Aitutaki and Rarotonga before studying law at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of Tasmania in Australia. He worked as a lawyer before entering politics.

Puna's father, Tuakeu Manuela, was a Member of the Legislative Assembly, and his older brothers William Estall and Ngereteina Puna both served as Cabinet Ministers, also his brother Manuela Puna served as Clerk of the Cook Islands Parliament.

Political career

Puna first stood for Parliament at the 2004 election, contesting Prime Minister Robert Woonton's seat of Manihiki. He narrowly lost the seat on election night, but challenged the result in an election petition. The petition was upheld, with several voters being disqualified; the subsequent recount produced a tie, precipitating a by-election which Puna ultimately won.

In September 2006, following the retirement of party leader Geoffrey Henry, Puna was elected leader of the Cook Islands Party. He subsequently lost his seat in the Manihiki constituency to Apii Piho in the 2006 election, but continued to serve as leader outside Parliament. Because he was not a member of Parliament, Puna was not the leader of the opposition; this position was filled by Tom Marsters. Puna worked as a lawyer and pearl farmer during his time out of parliament.

In September 2009, Puna was unanimously re-elected party leader.

Prime Minister

Puna was elected as MP for Manihiki during the 2010 election, in which his party won 16 of the 24 seats. On 30 November 2010 he was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Cook Islands.

Puna made his first official visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister in August 2011.

It was under Puna's premiership that the Cook Islands became, in November 2011, a founding member of the Polynesian Leaders Group, a regional grouping intended to cooperate on a variety of issues including culture and language, education, responses to climate change, and trade and investment.

Personal life

Puna is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 23 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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